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Development of the new viral viccine strategy against SARS-CoV-2

Grant number: 22/09528-7
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: February 01, 2023 - January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology - Applied Immunology
Principal Investigator:Marcel Montels Trevisani
Grantee:Marcel Montels Trevisani
Host Company:Invent Biotecnologia Ltda. - ME
CNAE: Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: Ribeirão Preto
Associated research grant:20/09681-4 - Development of the new viral vaccine strategy against SARS-COV-2, AP.PIPE
Associated scholarship(s):23/11240-4 - Analysis of the effectiveness of immunization from a vaccine strategy carrying viral protein against SARS-CoV-2, BP.TT
23/01705-0 - Development of the new viral viccine strategy against SARS-CoV-2, BP.PIPE


The COVID-19 pandemic mobilized thousands of researchers around the world, who sought to develop technologies to combat its etiological agent, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (CoV-2). Infection with this virus can cause anything from a mild cold to a severe respiratory illness, the latter being accompanied by systemic inflammation with a poor prognosis. On January 3, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global emergency, the institution's highest level of alert. The high number of hospitalizations and daily mortality rates associated with worldwide economic depression has put pressure on science to accelerate the development of vaccines. Although emergency vaccines have brought a decrease in the number of severe cases of the disease and, consequently, hospitalizations, several booster doses are necessary to maintain immunity, since the generation of long-term immunological memory for these vaccines is low. In addition, vaccines do not prevent transmission, and new cases of COVID-19 are reported every day in vaccinated individuals. This raises additional concern when considering the possibility of new mutant viruses being able to evade the immune response generated by vaccines, which would allow the resurgence of the pandemic. Therefore, research into new, more efficient, low-cost, easy-to-distribute vaccines that are capable of containing the infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is justified. One possibility to advance this issue is the vaccine based on live vectors that was built in phase 1 of PIPE. We demonstrated an alternative for easy production with gains in scale at a very low cost. We overcame the challenge of expressing viral proteins in bacteria such as Salmonella enterica Typhimurium, which obtained stability when orally administered and was capable of colonizing and inducing the generation of antigen-specific IgG class antibodies. Furthermore, we demonstrated rapid adaptability of intervening and modifying the vector to increase expression levels in a short period of time. The results obtained by the vaccine platform in phase 1 combined with the perspectives foreseen for phase 2 of this project will give us market competitiveness and technological independence from the current vaccines commercialized for COVID-19. Additionally, it opens perspectives for the use of the platform to other vaccines already established in the market, since a vaccine based on a bacterial carrier needs a short production logistics chain that reduces costs, making it available on the market at a much more competitive price than injectable vaccines. (AU)

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